LONDON BOUND: Alexander Wang will open his first London shop on Albemarle Street in Mayfair early next year in the latest wave of  international brands rolling into the neighborhood. Wang will join brands including Paul Smith, Amanda Wakeley, Buccellati and Garrard & Co. on the street, which is fast evolving from a quiet thoroughfare dotted with galleries and fine art dealers into a retail hotspot. The Alexander Wang shop, at 43-44 Albemarle Street, will span 6,500 square feet, according to a report on central London retail by British estate agents Knight Frank.

Eataly, meanwhile, has joined forces with Selfridges to open its first London food hall at the latter’s flagship on Oxford Street. The luxury Italian food chain already has international units in cities including New York, Chicago, Istanbul and Tokyo.

This story first appeared in the November 19, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In its winter 2014 report on central London retail, Knight Frank said average vacancy rates in central London have fallen to under 3 percent, with retail rents and capital values continuing to grow. Tourism, the company said, has been a big boost to growth so far this year.

“Competition for prime space is fierce, and demand continues to spread to locations previously considered ‘peripheral,’” the report said. “Mayfair is a noteworthy example, with emerging streets such as Conduit Street, Dover Street and Brook Street seeing marked improvements to tenant mix, which has resulted in significant rental growth.”

Victoria Beckham opened her first store on Dover Street in September.

“Regent Street and Bond Street continue to generate high levels of footfall, which will receive an additional boost from Crossrail,” said the report, referring to the major new railway line that will stretch from east to west across London and into the suburbs.

The report added that some central London locations have “zero availability,” and there is also evidence that units are being marketed 1-2 years in advance of release.

According to Knight Frank London’s retail market was also boosted by the increase in tourism, with visitor numbers rising by 8 percent in the first quarter to reach 3.6 million, the report said

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